MI Judge Told To Free Potential Juror Ordered To Sit In Court


Can judges jail jurors who don’t show up to do their jobs? A Michigan judge ordered a potential juror to be a spectator in court but was told he had no authority to do it, says the Detroit Free Press. Carmela Khury, a stay-at-home mom, was juggling child care and a jury summons. When she was late the second day of jury selection because her mother was undergoing oral surgery, a backup nanny fell through, and her husband was at work, Oakland County Judge Leo Bowman found her in contempt, ordered her to sit as a spectator for the expected two-week-long murder trial, and sentenced her to 24 hours in the county jail.

Khury sat in court Friday and Monday morning while her on-the-mend mother watched the children. The administrative arm of the Michigan Supreme Court told Bowman had no authority to hold those called for jury duty. He released Khury, but not before lecturing her on her responsibilities as a citizen and asking whether she had learned her lesson. Officials said judges suspicious of jurors trying to evade their civic duty have only two options — to leave them on the panel or dismiss them.

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